12/09/04: Vladimir Pozner (1980)

Jan. 23, 1980, was the night of what would turn out to be Jimmy Carter's last State of the Union Address. The Soviet Army had recently invaded Afghanistan...and Carter had some tough things to say about that. So we turned to someone who was described to us as a Radio Moscow Commentator. His name ... Vladimir Pozner.

From Nightline, Jan. 23, 1980:

POZNER: You realize that I do not agree with what you call an invasion. I'm very happy to have the opportunity to say our viewpoint, and I want to thank you for it.

TED KOPPEL: Please do.

POZNER: The Soviet Union, as you know, has agreements with Afghanistan and sent in military aid at request of the Afghanistan government. We do not see that at all as an invasion. But, as simply, honoring our commitment. And I'd like to make that absolutely clear.

It used to drive my colleague George Will crazy when I introduced Vladimir Pozner as a Soviet Journalist. "It's a contradiction in terms," George would insist. "The Soviet Union doesn't have journalists in the sense that we do." And he was right.